Little Dairy on the Prairie: from butter makin' to high-tech agriculture, 2005

(2005) Little Dairy on the Prairie: from butter makin' to high-tech agriculture, 2005. University of Iowa


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In 2001, extensive archaeological excavations were conducted at the Oneida Cheese Factory in Jones County. The county is a microcosm of larger dairying trends found throughout northeast Iowa, the state’s premier dairy-producing region. Jones County moved from homemade cheese and butter production by farm women, to the industrialization of the dairy farm and opening of cheese factories and butter creameries. A number of innovations affected the industry around the turn-of-the-twentieth century, including reliable butterfat testing, the introduction of ensilage (silos) that created yearround milk production, and consolidation of the many local creameries into larger creamery organizations, such as the Diamond Creamery run by Henry D. Sherman of Jones County. Iowa’s dairy industry of today looks very different from its heritage: consolidation and competition have drastically reduced the number of cows, dairy farms, and processing plants. In recent years, northeast Iowa has become the center of a movement to revitalize Iowa’s dairy industry, particularly through the use of value-added strategies, such as niche markets and large regional co-operatives: the lessons from Iowa’s dairying legacy are resurfacing as a solution to modern agricultural challenges.

Item Type: Departmental Report
Keywords: Dairy Products, Dairy, History of Iowa, Iowa History, Jones County
Subjects: Agriculture and food production > Agricultural finance
Agriculture and food production
Business and industry > High tech industry
History and culture > History of Iowa
ID Code: 4134
Deposited By: Margaret Barr
Deposited On: 12 Oct 2006
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2006